International sports federations demand “specific” tax status in France

The International Automobile Federation (FIA), whose headquarters is in Paris, and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), which planned to install it there, are considering leaving France

International sports federations demand “specific” tax status in France

The International Automobile Federation (FIA), whose headquarters is in Paris, and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), which planned to install it there, are considering leaving France. “The legal and tax system does not seem to be adapted to [our] activities,” they said after a meeting on Tuesday April 23.

“Although France is the cradle of motorsport, international competition, particularly in terms of labor costs, and the globalization of sport, are weakening this position,” explains Xavier Malenfer, director of institutional and international relations at the FIA, in a joint press release with FIFA. “Without clarification, through the recognition of a specific status for international sports federations, there is little hope of seeing the activities of the FIA ​​develop further, despite all the incontestable assets of Paris,” he continues.

At the end of 2023, the French executive attempted to pass into the 2024 budget a law containing tax provisions intended to attract international sports federations recognized by the International Olympic Committee to France, primarily football. Since June 2021, FIFA, created in Paris in 1904 and headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, has had a Paris branch. This is responsible for relations with the federations and technical cooperation in favor of the development of football. The French capital also houses a clearing house responsible in particular for solidarity mechanisms. A first step before moving its entire headquarters to France.

Request for greater clarity and visibility

However, in December 2023, the Constitutional Council censored this advantageous tax regime, invoking equality before taxes and thus calling into question the installation of these federations.

“The major obstacle identified to this French attractiveness: the absence of their own legal status for international federations. Under French law, they have the status of associations, and cannot be considered either as international organizations or as companies. Which has concrete consequences on their activities, their taxation, and, ultimately, on their interest in being in France,” explain FIFA, the FIA ​​and the IFAF, the international federation of American football.

Brought together by Sporsora, which brings together sports stakeholders, during a conference devoted to the status of international federations, they are demanding from France more clarity and visibility “as to the legal, social and fiscal regime which would be applicable to them”. “International sports federations do not ask for extraordinary privileges, or to be treated better than other types of organizations, but not less well either,” concludes Kenny Jean-Marie, who heads the Paris branch of FIFA.